Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:
The Oregon Employment Department projects an increase of 14.9 percent in the amount of jobs available for lawyers throughout the state from 2010 to 2020. In 2012, the OLMIS reported that the average lawyer’s annual salary is $104,214. Projected annual openings for lawyers during this period are that 75 lawyer jobs each year will be open due to growth, and 103 per year due to replacement, for a total of 178 jobs for lawyers each year during this ten-year period. These numbers represent a bright future for those who plan to become lawyers in Oregon. If this is your chosen career path, read on.
The Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners does not require that you obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to going to law school. However, if you plan to attend any law school accredited by the American Bar Association, you must have a bachelor’s degree prior to entry.
Any ABA-accredited law school will require that you receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. If your school is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, an ABA-accredited law school should accept the legitimacy of your undergraduate degree.
Requirements and Standards
You need not take specific courses, majors or minors while in undergraduate school. Some courses may end up benefiting you during law school if taken during undergraduate school, such as criminal justice, economics, business, philosophy, political science and communications. However, there is no ABA mandate that you take these or any other courses, as long as you receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.
You may obtain a bachelor’s degree in arts (B.A.) or sciences (B.S) within any subject major you choose.
Rasmussen College offers online Paralegal Associate's Degree and Post-Degree Certificate programs designed to give you the skills you need to provide expert legal support services, while preparing you for the CLA/CP Exam.
Before you can be admitted to any law school, you must pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). This standardized examination is offered four times per year.
How to prepare
You can find much free study help at the LSAT website. If you would like to take a paid LSAT preparation course, options throughout Oregon include:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Oregon:
You will encounter the following types of multiple-choice questions on the LSAT:
Additionally, you will be asked for a 30-minute writing sample. This does not count towards your total LSAT score, but will be used by admissions personnel at the law schools you apply to in evaluating your suitability for law school.
The Law School Admission Council requires that you apply online to take the LSAT, which is given in October, December, February and June on Saturdays and Wednesdays. For the 2012-2013 academic year, Oregon testing centers are:
Receiving Your Score
You should receive your LSAT score, which will total between 120 and 180, about three weeks after you take the examination. Per ABA law school data, these ABA-approved law schools in Oregon typically accept the following LSAT scores from new admittees:
With a passing LSAT score, you are now set to apply to ABA-approved law schools. The Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners requires that, unless you are already a practicing attorney licensed elsewhere or a graduate of a foreign law school (see below); you must graduate from an ABA-accredited law institution. There are more than 200 of them across the country from which you may choose. They are listed in the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.
Credential Assembly Service
All ABA-accredited law schools mandate that you utilize the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) when applying for admission. It will help you to gather undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, online evaluations and other information necessary to apply to law school. The CAS will compile all of this information into a law school report and present it to the law school(s) to which you wish to apply. You may ask the CAS to create up to five law school reports for you.
The Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners says that you must have a J.D. or L.L.B. degree from an ABA-accredited law institution if you want to take the state’s bar examination in the future. There are exceptions, however.
ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Oregon
These Oregon law schools are ABA accredited:
All ABA approved law schools typically offer the same basic foundation legal courses including:
Online Law Degrees
Internships provide you, as a law student, with fun and educational practical opportunities on which you may be able to build after graduation. Your school may place you into an off-campus situation in which you work as an assistant to a lawyer, carry on some legal duties, or work in a government agency or legislature. These situations test what you have learned in class up to this point and allow you to use that knowledge in a practical setting.
J.D. Degree Programs
You must have a J.D. (Juris Doctor) or L.L.B. (Bachelor of Laws) degree from a law school approved by the American Bar association in order to sit for the Oregon bar exam.
With your law degree in hand, you may now register to take the Oregon bar examination.
Under rules of the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, you are not eligible for bar admission if you were ever convicted of a crime that would have led to disbarment if you had been an Oregon lawyer at the time.
Although Oregon is not formally considered to be a UBE state, it administers parts of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). Free materials to help you study for this examination are available at the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. The sections to study are the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). Other choices you have for bar exam review and preparation in Oregon include:
The Oregon Bar Exam is administered over two days in February or July. It consists of:
Complete the Bar Exam Application. File by Nov 15 for the February exam and April 15 for the July exam to avoid late fees. Instructions are as follows:
Submit everything to Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd, Tigard, OR 97224.
The Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners has posted the following passing results from previous years’ bar examinations:
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
Within 24 months of passing the Oregon bar exam, you must take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) with a scaled score of 85 or better. You must apply online with the NCBE to schedule this exam.
Admission on Motion
If you are a licensed attorney and bar member in a reciprocal state, you may be eligible for admission on motion (without examination) to the Oregon bar.
File the Application for Reciprocal Admission.
Licensing and Admission to the Bar
Oregon bar exam results are normally mailed to you within six weeks of taking the examination. You will be given instructions for your bar admission ceremony (if you pass).
What a milestone you have passed! You are now a licensed member of the Oregon bar! During your first Continuing Legal Education (CLE) reporting period, you must complete 15 credits that includes 10 practical skills, one legal ethics, one child abuse reporting, and one elimination of bias course. You must also participate in the State Bar’s New Lawyer Mentoring Program (NLMP) during your first year of practice. This program offers you individual guidance on what makes up a highly competent legal practice. Additionally, it promotes collegiality, professionalism and civility among Oregon attorneys. Your mentor can answer just about any question that you may have in starting out as a new Oregon lawyer.
Where should you work, as a new lawyer in Oregon? Should you open your own solo practice, join an existing legal firm, work for a corporation, or what? There are two Fortune 500 corporations in Oregon, which may hire legal help from time to time: Nike in Beaverton and Precision Castparts in Portland. Other companies with locations in Oregon that may need legal assistance include accounting firm PWC in Portland, and Microsoft Corporation in Portland.
Law firms in Oregon that may be a great place to get your start as a lawyer include international business litigation firm Perkins Coie LLP in Portland; Schwabe, family law specialists Williamson & Wyatt in Portland, Bend and Salem; multi-practice firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, LLC in Eugene, Portland and Salem; and business litigators Harris Law Firm, P.C. in Hillsboro.
Legal specialty certification
Specialization in a legal area is possible once you have your law license in Oregon. Depending upon the area in which you wish to practice, various associations are available to provide certification services. The American Board of Certification (ABC) provides certification services for legal specializations in business bankruptcy, consumer bankruptcy, and creditors’ rights. Passing an examination in your intended specialty area is required. Call the ABC at (319) 365-2222 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC) offers legal certification services for specializations in social security disability, civil pretrial advocacy, criminal trial law, family trial law, and civil trial law. Again, passing an examination within your specialty area is required. For more information, call or email the Oregon representative of the NBLSC, D. Lawrence Wobbrock, at (503) 228-6600 or email@example.com.
Requirements for maintaining license
To keep your Oregon legal license active and maintain bar membership, you must complete 45 credit hours of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) every three years. Five of these credit hours must be in legal ethics. One credit hour must be in child abuse reporting. Three credit hours must be in elimination of bias. Contact MCLE Administrator Denise Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Court Systems in Oregon
The Oregon State Court System is comprised of the following courts:
Elective membership organizations
Consider joining an elective membership organization that can assist you in your career growth as a lawyer in Oregon, such as:
Lawyer Career Specialties
|OR Active Lawyers||11,766|
|Average Annual Wage||$104,214|